I love superheroes. Not sure why, but since I was a kid I’ve been enthralled by Superman, Spiderman, Batman and the like. I have a collection of old comic books, action figures (don’t call them dolls!) and other superhero related knick-knacks in my office and at home.
But as I’ve grown older, I’ve learned that not all heroes wear capes. Nor do they fly through the air, spin webs, leap tall buildings or race trains. Heroes look like you and me. And our super power isn’t some phenomenal feat of strength. It’s compassion.
It’s caring enough about our fellow human beings that we are willing to do whatever it takes to end suffering.
On Jan. 12, 2010, the earth violently shook in Haiti. It destroyed cities, claimed lives, and separated families. We watched the harrowing images on our televisions. We read about it in the newspapers and listened to the story unfold on radio programs.
And, like heroes, we responded.
Money. Prayers. Mission trips. Donated goods. We saw needs and met them.
Sometimes, heroes rise up from the rubble. Our staff in Haiti and volunteers spent tireless hours caring for and reaching out to victims — even as they, themselves, lost so much in the quake.
They tracked down sponsored children and their families. They provided shelter, clean water, medicines and food. Our church partners became safe havens for families whose homes were destroyed.
One of the heroes in Haiti is a former sponsored child. His name is Sony Fleurancier.
Sony was not only a sponsored child; he was also a Leadership Development Program student who received a degree in Civil Engineering. Now, he’s using those skills to help Compassion rebuild schools in Haiti. The quake wiped out much of the nation’s infrastructure, including its schools.
As you know, our program takes place in church-based schools. Without them, most of our sponsored children would not be able to receive an education at all. By the end of this year, we hope to have six new schools built, with a long-term plan to construct 30 schools in all.
And yes, because of Sony’s expertise and that of others, those buildings will be built to international seismic standards, providing safe facilities for children while meeting the needs of our church partners.
Sony is a hero. No cape. No flying. Just answering the call. Meeting the need. And while he’s not leaping tall buildings, he’s definitely helping us build stronger ones to keep our kids safe.
Here’s to the heroes who are helping rebuild a devastated country. Rebuilding an entire country. Now that does sound superhero-ish, doesn’t it?